Monday, January 25, 2010

Daily Devotional Thought--For the Family

Nehemiah 8:8 -- "They read from the book, from the Law (Torah) of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading."

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Israel had numbered into the millions, maybe as large as 2-3 million before they were exiled in Babylon for their idolatrous ways. In Nehemiah, chapter 8, we hear of the remaining remnant, now numbering only 42,360 (plus male and female servants -- 7,337) restoring the practice of reading God's Word in the assembly.

In the passage above there is a brief clause that may often times go unnoticed. When reading from the Torah, clearly, they gave the sense. And what was the result? The people were able to understand the Word.

Of course Ezra isn't sitting at the dinner table after finishing a delicious meal prepared for the family by mom the homemaker, but he does have something to offer us who find ourselves entrenched in the busy work week, taking a moment with our family, and wondering exactly how to have a devotion with our family.

Especially you parents who have purchased The Lutheran Study Bible (if you haven't, please, go check it out!) you have a tool that will help you give the sense so that your little ones can begin to understand. It's simple, really. Just open with the Invocation (In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit) and make the sign of the holy cross as a reminder of your baptism (and your children's), then go ahead and read a portion of the Scriptures. After that ask a few questions, let your family ask a few questions, and if you don't know the answer, explore the Scriptures together to find the sense.

In this way you will be carrying out your vocation as a Christian parent to hand down the faith, but you will also be modeling a humility that doesn't necessarily know it all, but will be willing to explore the Scriptures for the answers -- something your children can't learn too early.

Reading the Word and unpacking it goes way back. This is how God's people come to understand God's mercy and grace, and how they begin to see their Savior -- Jesus Christ.

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